Wendee among the stars
David H. Levy
Never in my life did I appreciate the peace and beauty of the night sky as I do now. It offers solace; it brings peace. And now more than eight months since my wife Wendee’s death, it is an easy reminder of why I love the sky.
Over many years, I have been reading brief poems for multiple online and personal sessions. One of my favourites is the Denver Astronomical Society, which I first joined in May of 1963 while I was a patient at the Jewish National Home for Asthmatic Children in Denver. Recently they even elected me as their poet laureate. Like the night sky, poetry brings peace.
The days go on; I watch the news, the details of war, of debt, of artificial intelligence well beyond my own, of murder, theft, and lies. But as the Sun sinks in the west, the shadow of our planet rises in the east, and with the daily darkening of the sky comes a bigger picture. The Universe does not care about the details; our days and years are nanoseconds in the cosmic timescale. But when we look toward the sky, with our eyes in the hope of catching a shooting star, through binoculars to make out a new pattern of stars, or with a telescope to celebrate a planet’s rings or a far-off galaxy, we can enter that cosmic picture and be part of it for a brief time.
In my professional life, I have tried to connect the night sky to poetry, but those rhymes are rarely my own. I make an exception this month. Besides raising my insight and bringing me peace, I find nothing that so stirs my heart as the joy of the night sky.
Each day I awake; today is the day!
I look toward her, she is not there.
My heart goes on, but do I care?
Will anything—anything—let in some ray.
The night is dark, as dark as coal.
The sky is stars from west to east
From south to north, just like a feast
A pill, heav’n sent to calm my soul.
A telescope stands, it stands and waits
For my eye, it asks, “just one brief look.”
Forward through space, like an open book;
And back through time, open wide the gates.
I see a star; why is it there?
Lapis philosophorum, philosopher’s stone
That strikes the night, it ushers me home
As part of a pattern to learn, I dare.
But reason not. General relativity;
Gravity’s geometry, no speck of thought;
No idea works, no system bought,
A spacetime crash, to save its dignity.
She’s part of me, a beam of light
Among the stars, in the sky a plant
Not there, but there, my soul enchant.
From grief to joy, all through the night.
David H. Levy